Do you spend time with our Creator? I know we all talk about it; I know many of use read a passage or a daily devotional sometime in the day, but do you spend time with God? There is no one way to do it, but do you actually do it? My purpose is not to harp loudly or to place guilt upon you. I ask but because for a long time I failed to do it, yet I thought I was and perhaps the same is true of you.
Throughout Scripture God relates our relationship to Him to relationships in this world so we can better understand it. Christ used parables of commonly understood situations to make He point as well. Think back for a moment, to your first love: How much time did you think about that person? ... How often did you go out of your way to merely see him/her, even if it was for just a moments glance? ... How much of your time did you spend trying to discover the likes and dislikes of this special someone or do things that pleased him/her? ... How different would that relationship have been, if you spent with your love, only the time you spend with your God? ... Wow, right? Isn't this what Christ was saying: “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” Rev 2:4-5
Take a moment, talk with God; confess as Christ has taught us. John has assured us: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Josh 1:8 There are three parts to this verse:
I intentionally listed them in reverse order to touch on the motive for way we do what we do first. If with do spend time, both night and day, with God and consume ourselves with Him and even faithfully do all that God expects of us, yet we do such with the motive to obtain the success promised in Josh 1:8, we have failed from the start. God is more concerned with our heart's motive than any actions we do! “And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. Rev 2:23.
Our motive is what God sees as our action; our motive is what God judges. Our actions are merely for the benefit of others and ourselves to see what our own true heart's belief is, for we will ultimately do that which we believe regardless of what we say we believe.
While the intent of this writing is not to discuss the commands of God, the Ten Commandments, or the commands of Christ outlined in the New Testament, which Christ, did himself, tell us to teach: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” Matt 28:19-20 (KJV), I wish to make brief mention: we are all familiar with verse 19, go baptist (save the lost), yet we fail do verse 20, to teach converts to obey the commands of Christ that is to be Christ-like.
I'm not speaking of the basics of the faith, which we teach well, rather the meat of the Word of God is where we fail: “Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” Heb 5:11-14. We do not teach converts to be grounded in the Word nor how to live a Christ-like life. Instead we teach, do the best you can, after all, we're only human! This is a lie straight out of the pit of hell and mouth of Satan! God has give unto us the power to overcome sin: “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” 1 Cor 10:13
Let us therefore encourage each other to do, by the Power of God, the Will of God, that the world will see the one true God through our lives! Let us train up converts in the pattern of Christ. This is the second part of the Great Commission. To do such we must spend time with God to know His ways that we can do them without our fleshly excuses.
This in turn brings us to the third part of Josh 1:8, the part Joshua listed first in the verse and the whole point of this writing: “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night,...”. Joshua of course spoke of the book of the law given to Israel by Moses from God. Joshua's words, if spoken today, would include the whole of the Bible and his words for us to meditate therein both day and night would not change.
So what is it to meditate and how can we practically do it both night and day? Meditate is to ponder, consider, think upon to achieve insights. As we consider what is written, we must understand, as with all of Scripture or any other writings. There is but one interruption: a stop sign means STOP. There are however numerous applications: the apostle Paul used this quote from the Old Testament: “Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn” to refer to paying leaders: “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.” 1 Tim 5:17-18. Clearly in the context of the passage in the Old Testament it literally meant, feed your ox, and yet Paul used it to refer to paying those that serve the Lord.
Was this an error by Paul? Of course not, God's Word is without error, inspired by the living God! It merely shows that while the text has one interruption, it has many applications. Another equally good application of the verse would be for a company is pay a honest and just wage, unlike many today, to those that keep the company running and make the owners wealthy. If you cut off the workers pay too much it will have an adverse outcome, such as the economy of the USA today. Wages for the majority have been crushed and wages for the minority heavily inflated, thus the economy of the USA is in poor condition. The same wage disparity happen in the 1920s and lead to the Great Depression. Wage studies show this fact, but again, this is merely an example of another application of the passage used by Paul. As one meditates on Scripture one will come up with many useful applications: how to love, even our enemies; how to remain pure, see Remaining Pure; how to, whatever subject you're studying.
This is not limited to how to, but can be used to gain additional insights into Scripture: take for example this verse: “And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands?” Mark 6:2. Clearly the verse is about Christ teaching in the synagogue and the crowds amazement of not only His intellectual instruction, but the wisdom (how to) that Christ had to do the might works He had done. If we meditate on teaching, we can be flooded with applications: ways to teach, in group learning, individual learning, personal tutors, using test, lectures, activities, learning by examples, visual learning, audio learning, etc..
Does meditate both day and night mean what it says? Does stop mean stop? If not, what does it really mean? King David got up in the midnight hour to be alone with God: “ At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments.” Psalms 119:62 (KJV) and Paul & Silas sang to God at midnight: “And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.” Acts 16:25 (KJV); King David cried out to God at noon time, morning and evening: “As for me, I will call upon God; and the Lord shall save me. Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.” Psalms 55:16-17 (KJV) We don't have to set the alarm for midnight or noon, but we can take practical steps to be with God both in the day and the night, it's really just a matter of choice. Do we honestly value our relationship with our God?
So then how does one meditate? There is no one right way. There's no formula for relationships. How I spend time with God will be different than you. The point is to do it. I can share with you something I do and enjoy, if you like it, do it, if not do something else, but spend time with God: while reading the Scriptures for the day, I read on an index card a verse that speaks out to me. Then I draw simple pictures to help me remember the verse. I think on it for a short time right then and again throughout the day and into the evening at different times, free moments like, driving, while cooking, during a commercial if you watch TV, just mute the sound, in the restroom, in the shower; the free moments are countless, a minute here, five minutes there and before you know it, you meditated both day and night. Then reflect on it just before going to bed too. If you awaken in the middle of the night as we all do from time to time, reflect on it again too.
I've scanned in a few samples. The pictures represent the words in the verse in a way that I can recall the verse. You would use pictures that help you recall the verse. The point is not to be an artist with the drawings, but to create an image the will help you recall the text so you can freely think on it in free moments throughout the day.
I have enjoyed this so much and I wish I would have done it sooner in my Christian life. It's just one simple way to spend time with God. Why not meditate on ways you can spend time with God right now and then try them out. There's nothing better than enjoying time with God! There's a song that has this line: I'd rather spend a day in the court of the Lord than 1,000 elsewhere. It wasn't until I discovered a simple way to be with God that I fully appreciated that song!
The ways to spend time with God are endless, here's but a few: pray, fast, memorize Scripture, meditate on Scripture, find a quiet place, take a walk, learn about Him. The opportunities are endless! Go enjoy God!